Content creation can be a slow and arduous process. Among marketers, the agile are primed for creating and delivering content at lightning speed. Here are some ways your organization can benefit from leveraging daily customs of those who excel in the field.
1. Align content with user stories.
The user story template should be clear. One user story describes the needs and wants of one persona. This extremely narrow focus serves a purpose. It reduces meandering, mitigates excess and encourages simplicity in customer engagement.
Creating content quickly means doing one thing really well for one person. Your audience should be able to quickly tell who your content is designed around.
2. Get content creators involved early.
Content creators often aren't part of the planning and strategy sessions that take place at the start of a sprint. But they should be. Silos slow down content production. Involving creatives earlier allows them to become attuned to the overall content strategy. This can help them begin the ideation stage early and potentially short-circuit it by dismissing ideas that don’t fit in with the bigger picture.
This approach also empowers creators to provide valuable feedback from their vantage point. They may foresee potential roadblocks that others miss. Addressing problems early is a major win for any strategy.
3. Create manageable tasks per user story.
Teams and organizations will vary in how they split the tasks that make up a user story. Regardless, it’s important to focus on creating tasks that work directly to accomplish narrative. This prevents the scope of work from expanding.
Likewise, if a team’s run rate is predictable each time, don’t add tasks or stories in the hopes of getting more work done. It is far more important to deliver completed work than to end a run with unfinished tasks.
4. Prioritize the work that is truly critical.
You can't do everything at once. Make tough decisions about what is absolutely critical and rank the work accordingly. Then, tackle content creation in priority order.
Ideally, team members should complete a user story before moving on to the next one. If disaster strikes, your organization can rest assured that the workflow won't be interrupted.
5. Get feedback during and after every run so you can fail early.
Teams inevitably will fail. It’s the design of human nature. Agile marketers know the focus is never the failure itself -- it's the after-effects. Getting feedback can be challenging, but it exists to help.
Fail, get feedback, and learn. Then rise up and quickly re-route the course. Consider any and all feedback to increase your content's quality, effectiveness and responsiveness.
6. Embrace cross-functionality.
Not everyone is an effective content creator. But the people within your organization have accumulated a wide variety of knowledge and experiences that can prove to be a gold mine.
Get rid of the idea that only those hired to create content should contribute to the end product. Crowdsource content creation by allowing every department to contribute. Creatives can then harness the mass knowledge base. This allows them to ideate, create and refine more rapidly.
7. Address blockers on a daily basis.
If a team member is stuck, others need to know -- and soon. In agile marketing, status stand-up meetings occur daily. The primary purpose is to find bottlenecks, roadblocks, dead ends and boulders so these obstacles can be removed. Resolve as quickly as possible any issues that cause a work stoppage or inhibit workflow.
Use an end-of-run retrospective.
At the end of every campaign run, schedule a postmortem. Team members discuss what worked well and what could be improved. Postmortems provide value, but only if members derive actionable items from the discussion. It isn't enough to simply learn what didn't work. Teams must create goals that address these gaps. Give members ownership over each pitfall. This built-in accountability helps ensure the same issues won't recur.
8. Abide by the manifesto.
In theory, creators can revise content until the end of time. Seasoned creators rely on external feedback to help determine when a piece is finished. Similarly, developers rely on quality-assurance professionals to determine that functionality is complete.
Establish a mutually agreed-upon definition of “done.” This will function as a checklist to curtail unnecessary time spent on a task. Once a story has checked off every item on the list, it is considered complete. Remember that perfection is never the goal. Content's role is to deliver value.